Dying Last Words

The last words of someone dying is a cliche in fiction. In this video, I give some tops on how you might go about this problem a different way, and why you should.


 

A common pet-peeve of mine happens all the time in books and movies; final words of a dying person.
Imagine you come across a massacre. The enemy killed them all, and made sure to get any survivors. However; somehow, one person is left barely alive and he is able to tell you who did it before he dies. Out of hundreds of people, somehow he is the only one alive.
Commonly in medieval times, if someone important was captured, they would not kill them, they would sell that person back to the enemy for lots of money.
However, let’s say your enemy in your novel doesn’t want to do that; then wouldn’t they still want to do everything in their power to not kill the man who has the most information they could use?
Instead in novels, the leader is often found, barely alive, but able to say a few last words. For some reason, the enemy never cared to look for the most important person they were fighting against.
Final words normally serve for two purposes in novels; to give information, or to try and make us feel something.
If you want to make people feel heart broken, then final words might die more harm than good. Giving someone last words gives them a chance to say what things they wish they had said before; making us feel slightly less sad. However, sometimes the best way to break readers hearts it to make death sudden. For example, think of the lion king. The thing that made Muffasas death so heart breaking was not just because he had fought so hard to save his son, or because of the betrayal, but also because when Simba ran down to see him, his father was already dead. There were no last words; just Simba trying to wake his father up. The fact that Simba was not able to wrap things up with his father was what made it so hard to watch.
As for the last words for information, I strongly suggest you don’t do this more than once per novel. It can be really cheesy. There are other ways to get information too; the now dead person might have hidden a letter right before death, he might draw an arrow with his blood, or release all the messenger birds from their cage in hopes that the one with the letter makes it home without the enemy shooting at the right one.
So, that’s it for now! As usual, these are just my personal feelings and suggestions, so please do not take offence from anything I say.
Do any of you feel the same way? If so, please let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for watching! Bye!
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